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Vinland (1990)

af Thomas Pynchon

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MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingSamtaler / Omtaler
4,065402,905 (3.58)1 / 157
Vineland, a zone of blessed anarchy in northern California, is the last refuge of hippiedom, a culture devastated by the sobriety epidemic, Reaganomics, and the Tube. Here, in an Orwellian 1984, Zoyd Wheeler and his daughter Prairie search for Prairie's long-lost mother, a Sixties radical who ran off with a narc. Vineland is vintage Pynchon, full of quasi-allegorical characters, elaborate unresolved subplots, corny songs ("Floozy with an Uzi"), movie spoofs (Pee-wee Herman in The Robert Musil Story), and illicit sex (including a macho variation on the infamous sportscar scene in V.).… (mere)
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Engelsk (38)  Spansk (1)  Alle sprog (39)
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At a time when we are assessing how short lived the ‘victories’ in our history books were, while seeing progressivism undone by the steady drumbeat of the anti-government movement, and civil rights and voting rights undone by a steady drumbeat projecting citizens as enemies – it’s a good time to dive back into Thomas Pynchon’s Vineland where the true believers of 60s counter culture find themselves scattered in rural enclaves of Northern California – coming to terms with betrayal, guilt and distrust.

American History is always the unnamed character in a Pynchon story and its antagonist always seems to be the mythology of American History. The mythology is a story of progress and hope, standing up to authority – while the situation the characters find themselves – the protests against the war, Nixon, COINTELPRO – have their roots in the Red Scare, attempts to root communist sympathizers out of Hollywood and colleges, the Cold War and rise of the military industrial complex, Anslinger’s racist early version of the War on Drugs – all seeming to have stacked the deck against idealism. And a repression that seemed to be defeated with the resignation of Nixon, merely going underground.

And while society seems to fail against infringements against the 1st and 2nd Amendments the powers that be seem to be taking liberties with the 4th Amendment.

This is where the central characters – Zoyd Wheeler a washed-up hippy having his home seized by the DOJ, his wife (for a brief time) Frenesi having her body and existence seized by an obsessive Fed and their child, friends and family seemingly caught in the crossfire – find themselves. And where the central villain, Brock Vond – whose motivations seem to change from a twisted view of love for Frenesi, to a love of power, to a sheer Iago-level evil desire to win at all costs – attacks, seizing even those things that romantics would think can’t be taken.

There are the fantastic details that lead the reader down every conspiracy-laden rabbit hole – a commune of female ninja warriors, a Godzilla size foot stomp that takes out a factory to serve as an inciting incident, a psychological and theological impact of television, and a for-profit college designed to indoctrinate (ok the last two – not so unreal) that are great Pynchon hallmarks that stretch not only the reader’s ability to suspend disbelief but also the citizen’s.

The book ends with perhaps one of Pynchon’s most sentimental endings, the daughter of the revolutionaries – Prairie waking up in nature, the lost family dog with her – the two who may actually be innocent with their future’s threatened the most by repressive regimes finding themselves in an Edenic place. Then the reader realizes the book is set in 1984, the time shared by Orwell – and perhaps Pynchon has not gone soft.

Vineland is one of the more underrated novels of its time and one that’s turned out to be uncomfortably prophetic.
( )
  DAGray08 | Jan 1, 2024 |
"When power corrupts, it keeps a log of its progress, written into the most sensitive memory device, the human face."

This novel tells the story of the people whose lives were touched by Frenesi Gates, a one-time sixties radical who turns government informer and goes into hiding, abandoning her husband and young daughter.

The novel opens in the fictional Northern Californian district of 'Vineland' where Zoyd Wheeler, Frenesi's ex-husband, is living in semi-seclusion with his 14-year-old daughter, Prairie. When Zoyd learns that Prairie is being targeted by a charismatic federal prosecutor, Brock Vond, who first convinced Fresesi to betray her friends, Zoyd sends Prairie away however she is still keen to know her mother.

As the novel progresses all of the main characters converge on Vineland at the large annual reunion of Frenesi's extended family. Brock Vond lowers himself from a helicopter in an attempt to kidnap Prairie as she sleeps alone in the woods but just as he is about to grab her, the funding for his secret program is cut and it is he who is winched away.

Vineland spans from the 1960s to the mid-1980s. The novel covers the paranoia of the Nixon years, the end of the hippie movement, the birth of Reaganite politics and the main themes are the corrupting influence of power and the death of idealism.

The prose is dense, Pynchon moves fluidly in his narrative from character to character and between time settings picking up and dropping plot lines seemingly at whim. Now whilst I found it marginally better than the previous novel by the author that I'd read (Crying of Lot 49) I cannot say that I particularly enjoyed this one either. Despite comments on the blurb to the contrary, I didn't find it "exhilarating and wretchedly funny" nor did I find it "beautifully structured" rather I found it self-indulgent and rather dull. What kept me going was an interest in seeing just whether Ferensi and Prairie would be reconciled and whether Vond would get his comeuppance but found the ending a let-down as well. I suspect that this will be something of a marmite book, you will either love or hate it, unfortunately I'm in the latter camp. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Nov 22, 2022 |
Pynchon at his best. A journey through America's darkness. CIA, McCarthyism, student protest and outsiders and outlaws. A gentler Hunter Thompson. Raw and tender, Pynchon understands he different forms of love like no one else. A tough but beautiful book. ( )
  Estragon1958 | May 23, 2022 |
Another gift fiction read, though it took me a long time (3 years) to get to the point where I sat down and read it. I haven't read anything else by Pynchon, though I would like to tackle Gravity's Rainbow at some point. I enjoyed reading this book and got a lot more out of it when I discovered a pair of hobbyists' annotations on the book online (some of the references I got, some were a little beyond me). The characters and events are weird, but by the end of it, I was totally grooving on the total package. (maybe because it was a slight intellectual challenge to read and make sense of everything.) In extremely broad strokes, it's about the counter-culture and the establishment reaction/crackdown. ( )
  stevepilsner | Jan 3, 2022 |
Right... where to start. My first Pynchon. I was actually tempted to give it four stars but part of that was because it fills you with a healthy amount of paranoia against those in power. There is so much outlandish crap spread around these days that i think we begin to overlook all the real conspiracies and corruption out of some sort of mental backlash.
Anyway... the plot such as it is... you remember that episode of the Simpsons where Homers mother turns up who's been on the run since the sixties? Its a bit like that with occasional channel interference from Kill Bill and maybe Godzilla.
About 90% of it is flashback, although they're not so much flashs as bleeds. The transitions from time to time and place to place are quite something as you can never seem to see them until after they've happened.
It can make finding a natural stopping place (their are no chapters) a little hard. You'll be a couple of pages into a new section following new people before you've even figured out that the change happened.

It seems at times stream of consciousness writing with the occasional pool of magical realism. Still not quite sure what a Thanathoid is... i'm thinking ghost zombie nihilist :lol.
Other idiosyncrasies of the author are the various songs thrown in and dream sequences the latter being completely pointless and the former not meaning much to me but perhaps more interesting for those of a musical inclination. About 20% of the book feels like it could have been cut without in anyway effecting the story, and i'm probably being generous with what i consider to be relevant.

There are also two major mysteries in the book, one of why the badguy is doing what he's doing and one about why another character did what she did in the past. Neither of which are really resolved but given the nature of the story i suspected there would be no easy answers so i wasn't too annoyed by that. Also given the type of story i expected it to end with a whimper rather than a bang and was correct on that too, although fadeout instead of whimper might be more accurate.

I like stream of conciousness, 60's-80's america etc. there was a lot i liked here but perhaps too chaotic to love. ( )
  wreade1872 | Nov 28, 2021 |
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Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Pynchon, Thomasprimær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Fastenau, JanOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Gunsteren, Dirk vanÜbersetzermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet

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Later than usual one summer morning in 1984, Zoyd Wheeler drifted awake in sunlight through a creeping fig that hung in the window, with a squadron of blue jays stomping around on the roof.
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Downtown, in the Greyhound station, Zoyd put Prairie on top of a pinball machine with a psychedelic motif, called Hip Trip, and was able to keep winning free games till the Vineland bus got in from L.A. This baby was a great fan of the game, liked to lie face down on the glass, kick her feet, and squeal at the full sensuous effect, especially when bumpers got into prolonged cycling or when her father got manic with the flippers, plus the gongs and lights and colors always going off. "Enjoy it while you can," he muttered at his innocent child, "while you're light enough for that glass to support you."
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Vineland, a zone of blessed anarchy in northern California, is the last refuge of hippiedom, a culture devastated by the sobriety epidemic, Reaganomics, and the Tube. Here, in an Orwellian 1984, Zoyd Wheeler and his daughter Prairie search for Prairie's long-lost mother, a Sixties radical who ran off with a narc. Vineland is vintage Pynchon, full of quasi-allegorical characters, elaborate unresolved subplots, corny songs ("Floozy with an Uzi"), movie spoofs (Pee-wee Herman in The Robert Musil Story), and illicit sex (including a macho variation on the infamous sportscar scene in V.).

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